We’ve all been there – maybe you had a long day and haven’t had a chance to eat; maybe you went to dinner and your food is taking forever; or maybe you had an intense workout and your body is just craving food and craving it now! Whatever the case, you’re hungry and that hunger is starting to affect your mood.

Being ‘hangry’ – so hungry that you’re angry is a real thing. According to a study done at the University of North Carolina, when we’re hungry we also experience heightened levels of stress and a higher sense of persecution. 

Here are three reasons why you might be feeling hangry:

Blood sugar
You might be in a ‘mood’ when you’re hungry due to a drop in blood sugar. When you eat the carbs you consume are broken down into simple sugars, one of them being glucose. Immediately after eating the glucose in your blood is high.

As you go about your day the glucose levels in your blood gradually drop. If this level drops significantly your brain takes notice. You see, your brain relies on glucose as a fuel source and requires a continuous supply. If it’s not getting enough glucose it goes into ‘panic mode’ – hence the hangry!

If your meals contain some protein and healthy fat, it will help your blood sugar remain more constant for a longer period of time, with less of a ‘crash.’ 

Oh hormones, they can make things challenging. When we have low glucose it doesn’t only affect the brain, it affects our other organs as well. Low glucose levels ramps up hormones signaling them to increase glucose in the body. Among these hormones are cortisol and epinephrine – also known as stress hormones are released when the body perceives a threat. Stress is definitely a big mood changer!

Hunger and anger are controlled by similar genes. Neuropeptide Y is a gene that controls our eating behaviour. When your stomach is empty it’s released in your brain which tells your body to eat more. Neuropeptide Y is also the gene that triggers anger and aggression. So when you release Neuropeptide Y you’re more likely to experience that angry feeling when hunger strikes.   

If you are susceptible to becoming hangry try carrying a few healthy snacks with you so when you feel the moodiness strike you've got it covered!